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Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Ridge Augmentation

What is Ridge Augmentation?

A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of a tooth extraction, or for another reason.

The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding the socket breaks, and it is unable to heal on its own. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate unless treated.

Why is a Ridge Augmentation Necessary?

Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement, or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure, and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.

How is the Procedure Performed?

A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in our office under local anesthesia. Some patients may also request oral or IV sedative medication as well. A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket. It is often done immediately after the tooth is removed, to avoid the need for a second procedure later. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket and secured with sutures. At the WK Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Institute, our surgeons may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to help restore the height and width of the space created by the tooth and bone loss, and into which new bone should grow. Once the socket has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement.

What Can I Expect After the Procedure?

You may experience slight pain and discomfort following the procedure once the local anesthetic has worn off. You will be provided with analgesics (pain killers) to help minimize any discomfort. You will also be provided with prescriptions for antibiotics as well as an antimicrobial mouth-rinse. There will be stitches present in the gums that will dissolve on their own in a couple of weeks. Very mild swelling may be noted for the first 2-3 days as well. In general, this is a very well-tolerated procedure with only mild discomfort being the most common complaint postoperatively.